Each week, a deal is selected that illustrates the themes driving change in the sports industry. They may not always be the largest deals in value or those of the highest profile, but they tell us where the leading players are focusing their efforts and why. Our thematic deal coverage is driven by our underlying Disruptor data that tracks all major deals across our sectors.
Last week (July 12), US-based Simplebet was announced as the official sports betting innovation partner of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf League.
The collaboration will see Simplebet distribute LIV’s real-time competition data to sports betting operators and media platforms worldwide, providing “innovative single-screen in-play wager technology complemented with low latency video streaming in the US and other international markets.”
The aim is for sports betting firms to soon be able to offer in-play wagering opportunities during LIV events.
The deal represents LIV’s first tie-up in the betting space.
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Why it matters
The agreement is another indication of how sports betting is continuing to grow in the North American market.
Simplebet’s range of products is currently used by other sports properties such as American football’s NFL, basketball’s NBA, and baseball’s MLB but the deal with LIV provides it with a significant entry into golf.
The controversial LIV series has struggled to attract many commercial partners but has now secured an opportunity to develop a presence in the growing sports betting space.
Conrad Wiacek, head of sport analysis at GlobalData, commented: “While LIV Golf’s merger with the PGA Tour is certain to open some new commercial opportunities for LIV, the deal with Simplebet is a continuation of a trend seen across all sports with sports betting brands building relationships with sporting properties.
“While Europe seems to be on a path of moving away from prominent betting partnerships, the legalization of sports betting across the US has seen a drive for partnerships across the space. There are now huge opportunities for betting brands in the US market and the fact that the PGA is focused on North America means this deal makes sense on several levels.
“While sports betting is illegal across the Middle East, the focus for this deal is likely to be on North America and Europe, targeting golf fans across the regions. As the development of technology continues to offer new opportunities for sports partnerships, with AI a case in point, the idea that Simplebet will revolutionize the fan experience must be exciting for both LIV and golf in general.
“However, the fact that Simplebet has secured this deal ahead of other, larger betting companies suggests that LIV Golf still has some way to go in winning over a skeptical golfing public.”
Founded in 2018, Simplebet is owned by Joey Levy, who also co-founded sports betting and media company Betr with US influencer and boxer Jake Paul last year.
The betting platform is developing a footing in a market that is dominated by the likes of FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, and BetMGM.
The US sports betting market continues to undergo major maturation after the country’s Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that states should have the right to legislate on the activity.
LIV is seeking to use the strategic partnership to increase its fan engagement and target a younger audience through innovative technology.
The LIV Golf League, in its inaugural season, will be leveraging Simplebet’s platform, which has been designed to transform the fan experience by creating deeper engagement around individual moments throughout the course of a tournament.
Simplebet will introduce “cutting-edge in-play betting markets and visualizations.”